Accessibility statement

Policy on staff groups seeking to engage with research activities

Background and summary of current position

1. The issue with staff on teaching and scholarship (T and S) contracts and their engagement with research has been raised on a number of occasions. Questions include whether T and S staff should have automatic access to research only systems such as Worktribe (for costing and pricing of research grants) and PURE (to capture research activities and with a profile on the York Research Database website). UEB considered a paper on this matter in 2015 and subsequently agreed a number of principles in January 2016.

2. UEB agreed that the normal expectation for T and S staff would be for 15% of their time to be directed towards scholarship, where the definition  of scholarship responsibilities were:

  • To keep up to date on their subject area and include contemporary knowledge, methods and practice in teaching;
  • To understand the particular contributions of the Department's research and impact portfolio and reference these appropriately in teaching;
  • To investigate and share with colleagues important innovations in teaching and learning within the subject area and more generally.

3. UEB also agreed that normally there would be no expectation of, or time allocated for, undertaking research. T and S role profiles are now aligned with this expectation. Departmental workload models should allocate staff on T and S contracts to teaching and scholarship activities only and there should be no facility to undertake research outside the above parameters.

4. UEB has now further agreed that in line with the expectations of the role outlined within the job description, staff on Grade 6 research contracts are not permitted normally to act as Principal Investigator (PI) on a grant.

Recognised exceptions

5. Staff on T and S contracts and Grade 6 research-only staff may be permitted to apply for and act as PI on a research fellowship grant where the expectation of the grant includes research independence1.

6. Normally, staff on T and S contracts should only be included on research  grants where their specific technical or clinical expertise is required and they are included as a named individual. Permission must be sought for such activity following the process below.

Process for approving exceptions

7. It is recognised that there may be cases where Departments may wish to propose that a T and S member of staff is involved as a PI or Co-Investigator (Col) on a research grant, or where the individual is allocated time for a specific research project. This may be permitted in exceptional cases, but only where it is in line with the Department's research strategy and to the strategic benefit of the institution. In addition, the work would need to be undertaken within the current Departmental workload planning and the activity taken into account as part of the performance review process. In such cases, permission would need to be sought from the PVC for Research, following discussion with and approval by the Head of Department.

8. It is the expectation that for such cases as noted in point 7, a separate fractional fixed term contract or secondment would be put in place for this work. This would define, for an agreed time period, the explicit allocation of hours devoted to research. This would include a concomitant adjustment to the FTE of the T and S contract, as appropriate.

9. Departments may also wish to put forward a case for a Grade 6 Research only staff member to act as PI on a grant, in circumstances other than as an independent research fellow. In such cases, permission would also need to be sought from the PVC for Research, following discussion with and approval by the Head of Department.

10. In order for permission to be granted, the Head of Department should make a case in writing to the PVC for Research. This would need to include the rationale, the alignment with the Departmental strategy and the strategic benefit to the institution. It should also include the start and end dates for the work and confirm that this could be managed within the existing Departmental workload planning. The case should also include issues relating to parity and equality within the Department so that it is clear why the individual had been put forward, as well as identifying any other contractual obligations. HR advice must be sought before any case can be approved.

11. Staff on T and S contracts will not be given or be expected to maintain a Pure account.

Implications for HR processes

12. Staff who are employed on T and S contracts are recruited on the basis that this working arrangement meets the departmental needs, in terms of teaching workload. If Heads of Departments consider that an alternative staff category is more appropriate, they should refer to the protocol on movement between staff groups available from HR.

1 independence is defined as the design, planning and organisation of a programme of research, based on the individual’s own research ideas and to be overseen by that individual.

Approved by University Research Committee: 13 November 2018
Revised version approved by University Executive Board: 15 January 2019
Final version approved by University Executive Board: 19 March 2019
Review cycle: 3 years
Date of next review: 2020